Here are some videos of how variations can be used in music. First, here are some parts of the music you can learn about, to vary for different effects in the music.
- Melody : the main tune of the music sang or played by a lead instrument like a violin, a piano, flute or a guitar. Notes could be added or taken away.
- Rhythm: the ‘feel’ of the music. It could be regular, swung, loose, tight, tense, relaxed, or however else you might want to describe the feel of the music.
- Dynamics : this describes how the volume of the music changes, for example from loud to quiet, quiet to loud, very loud to vey quiet etc. There are many Italian words to describe these such as forte (loud), piano (soft).
- Harmony: the ‘key signature’ could be changed from major (happier) to minor (sadder) for example.
- Instruments used: different instruments have a very different effect and sometimes switching the instruments around changes the music dramatically or more subtlety (less dramatically).
- Tempo: the speed of the main beat of the music. For example a fast song/piece of music played slowly feels completely different!
- Time signature: how many beats in a bar (4, 3, 6 etc.). This is connected to rhythm; changing the time signature changes the feel of the music.
- Arrangement : how parts of the music are arranged on different instruments and the structure of a piece of music can be changed around, for example parts can be added or taken away, made higher or lower, played or more, less or different instruments and/or the different sections (such as the introduction, verse and chorus) can be swapped around.
Have a think about some of these things as you watch how this pianist creates different variations of a very well-known song you all know! Write down your thoughts and ideas as you listen and email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.